Students Share Secrets Behind their Shiny Jewelry

What stories lie behind these students’ favorite accessories?

Bella Gil wearing her cross necklace. There are stories behind students' favorite accessories. (Staff Photo by Elaine Chen)

Jewelry can serve as a shiny addition that ties our outfits together. Yet behind the initial glare, these accessories can carry the sweetest stories.

Steinhardt first-year Lexi Aragon’s rings, displaying various shapes and little hands, were given to her by her mother as a farewell gift.

“My mom gave me these rings when I came here to NYU,” Aragon said. “Since they’re on both of my hands, they symbolize hugs from my mom while I’m away at school.”

Being someone who has always loved jewelry and gifting jewelry to others, the present was more than perfect for Aragon on the first days of leaving her home. 

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Gallatin second-year graduate student Madeline Hoak wears multi-colored leather bracelets from her brother that can be linked together to create a larger one. The bracelet reminds her of her brother and represents her personality. 

“It felt very sentimental because there are colors that I really love and they’re objects that feel very much like me,” Hoak said. “So that was really nice that he got something that I love to wear.”

On the other hand (see what we did there?), Steinhardt first-year Megan Abbanat has a different attitude toward jewelry she has received as a gift. The ring she received on her 17th birthday is a family heirloom passed down from her mother and grandmother. Abbanat also has a particular appreciation for the ring from a humanitarian perspective. 

“I don’t support the general jewelry industry because of the labor exploitation and unethical methods of obtaining a lot of stones used, specifically the diamond industry,” Abbanat said. “Unless you can prove to me that the piece of jewelry and stone was obtained and made without the exploitation of human labor, I don’t want it, because I don’t want purchases made for me to support that industry.”

Gifts from family members aside, jewelry from a significant other can also hold a special significance. Gallatin sophomore Amivi Sogbo received a ring from her partner on a very special occasion.

“[He] gave it to me after one night that we hung out and it basically meant him symbolizing a point in our relationship to confirm that we were together,” Sogbo said.

Sogbo considers the ring a very intimate piece of jewelry as compared to a necklace or bracelet, making the present even more important as a milestone in their love story.

Besides the precious memories of loved ones, jewels could also be a sour reminder of broken promises. Telling the story of matching rings he purchased with his now-ex-girlfriend, Steinhardt first-year Andrew Cartano bitterly recalls his bitter-ending love affair.

“I received a ring from a set of matching rings from my girlfriend,” he said. “They were like a promise and a symbol of the relationship staying together and a reminder that we were there for each other even though we weren’t there physically. [It] didn’t work out.”

Before the rings, Cartano also gave his then-girlfriend a Hawaiian pearl necklace. However, he doesn’t believe giving jewelry should be expected or required behavior in any relationship.

“It’s just a nice gesture. You shouldn’t look at jewelry like the number one symbol for commitment in a relationship,” Cartano said. “A marriage ring isn’t a marriage ring until you give it to someone you’re marrying.”

Email Alex Tran at [email protected]

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